Got behaviors? You need help???

“Got behaviors? You need help???” Karen Barineau Autism Specialist, DeKalb County Schools [email protected] Barbara Cook Special Ed...
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“Got behaviors? You need help???” Karen Barineau Autism Specialist, DeKalb County Schools [email protected] Barbara Cook Special Educator, City of Decatur Schools [email protected]

Behavior Chains  B+


Behavior is learned and serves a specific purpose.

Behavior is related to the context within which it occurs.

Any challenging behavior that persists over time is “working” for the child.

Before we can change a behavior, we MUST know why it is happening!!

Why this works?  B+ 


Positive Behavior leads to Reinforcement

For example, child points or vocalizes about a toy Mommy give toy to child

The individual has an ability and an understanding 



Initiate correct behavior get reward

Children with disabilities have difficulty with their   

Ability to communicate Processing of the situation Initiating- communication & socialization

Behavior Chains  B-


Words Negative Behavior

Sign Language




Negative Behavior leads to Reinforcement




For example, child screams and get access to toy.



There is a difference… Skill Deficit

Does not possess skill, thus cannot perform skill

Teach the skills! Break the skills down into discrete steps and teach.

Skill Excess

Does possess the skill but too frequently.

Teach replacement skills! Teach socially acceptable behaviors. Time? Place? Amount?


Does possess skill but cannot perform skill on command or regularly. Lacks fluency.

Remove barriers that impede interaction and add accommodations that will aide with performance. Create opportunities to practice skill. Reinforce.

I Don’t Know, I Don’t Know, I don’t Know ????? 

Functional Behavior Assessment

Determine Function u

Avoid/Escape  Tangible  Attention  Sensory  Communication 

Why does he do it?

Functional Behavior Assessment 

Describe the behavior (action words)  Hit,

Spit, Kick, Clear Table  Not “pitching a fit”  Observable and Measurable Collect data and observe the behavior across a broad sample of environments Determine the function- why?

What is the student telling me by misbehaving? What is the student getting by acting out? What is the student getting out of? What appropriate behavior will get the student what he / she needs or wants?

The objective of FBA is not just to define and eliminate undesirable behaviors but to understand the function of the behavior in order to teach and promote positive alternatives.


Antecedent: The teacher asks Joshua to come to the board to move a magnetic marker. Behavior: Angela bangs her head on the tray of her wheelchair. Consequence: The teacher stops instruction with Joshua and goes to Angela. Staff attempt to redirect and soothe Angela. The function of the behavior is ?

Antecedent: At lunch James sees that Martin has yogurt. Behavior: James bangs his head with his fist at the lunch table. Consequence: Martin gives James some of his yogurt. The function of the behavior is ???

Antecedent: Johnny is given a vocational bin and asked to assemble the parts. Behavior: Johnny sweeps the bin with all the parts onto the floor. Consequence: Johnny is taken to time out and the classroom aide picks up the pieces. The function of the behavior is ???

Antecedent: During downtime, Shawn is finished with his work and sitting at his desk. Behavior: Shawn rocks at his desks and hums loudly. Consequence: The behavior continues. Staff may look towards Shawn but do not comment on his behavior. The function of the behavior is ?

Intervention Plan Not merely decreasing or eliminating behaviors  Focus should be on replacing problem behavior with appropriate alternative or replacement behaviors resulting in the same or similar consequences  Change for all- teacher, family and student 

Determine Function Escape  Tangible  Attention  Sensory  Communication 

Why does he do it?

Behavior Action Plan

Environment Changes needed

Skills that need to be taught to the student

Response of staff to student’s appropriate behavior

Response of staff to student’s inappropriate behavior

Environment Changes

Auditory information is fleeting. It is there…..and then it is gone!

Schedules Visual information stays long enough for a student to see it, take in the information and respond to it.

Rules • Rules Review • Social- understand the rules, know what he/ suppose to do

• Build sensory opportunities into the daily classroom schedule – Behavior does not drive the “sensory breaks” – Structured – Scheduled


Hands on • Decrease fine motor tasks learning • Hands on materials • Cognitive level- is work too difficult, do they understand the task

• Problem behavior has a purpose often involved with a communicative intent.

Giving a person a more functional, efficient and acceptable way to communicate may in itself decrease much of the “acting out” behavior.

Reinforcement (R+) Response of staff/parent to child’s appropriate behavior

• Reinforcement is an item/event which follows a behavior and increases the likelihood that the behavior will occur again. Positive reinforcement AND Negative reinforcement


Using Positive Behavior Charts/ Point Sheets

Primary - tangibles, edibles, preferred activities, sensory input

• Positive Behavior charts allow the child to see how close they are to earning a reward.

Secondary – verbal praise, touching, tickling, hugs

• Instead of getting the reward straight away they get a puzzle piece, color a box, or receive points. When they fill up their chart they can exchange it for a reward.

Reinforcement is in the eye of the “student” not the teacher Reinforcer Inventory- do it often / think


Behavior Charts


I am working for _______.

Response of staff/parent to child’s inappropriate behavior

Time Out • Time out IS a break from activity • The reinforcer for escape behavior is a break from work • Giving a break following behaviors that serve to escape work actually strengths those behaviors

• Why it might not work – If you use this during work or other nonpreferred activities – If you deliver attention – If child can interact with others – If there are no clear rules about what leads to time out – Inconsistency


This is NOT an overnight process. Minimum of One month of intervention to every year behavior has occurred Prepare for the behavior to GET WORSE before it gets better Monitor the plan for AT LEAST 2-3 weeks before changing the intervention CONTINUE to collect data to monitor effectiveness CHANGE THE INTERVENTION if data collection shows there is no improvement in the problematic behaviors

Final Tips 

Environment Changes needed

Skills that need to be taught to the student

Response of parent to child’s appropriate behavior

Response of parent to child’s inappropriate behavior



Find out what's really frustrating your student Focus on teaching communication Give your students an incentive to behave Speak calmly Use visuals Do not give attention to the tantrum Continue to give the same instruction when your student is misbehaving or continue what you were originally doing, don’t make changes Give your student some control over his/her life, provide choices. Give your student some space Laugh it off Take time for yourself

QUESTIONS The great thing about addressing challenging behaviors…… If you mess up……you’ll more than likely get another chance to try again!